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Does the interpretation of a CR2a Agreement change from a temporary fix to a permanent fix when it is incorporated into a decree

Everett, WA |

I have a pending hearing with my ex for violating our decree which incorporates a CRAY agreement . She refuses to comply and her response is that our mediator told her we could change the agreement after she obtained full time work . This statement was not incorporated in the agreement and I was never told this during the mediation as it was conducted in shuttle method . So essentially , she is claiming that she is not compliant because she misunderstood . However , she signed the joiner & decree and complied with it last year . Her counsel mailed her response however , it's all her word but no proof of her claim . She is looking to as for mediation again . I have taken this matter to court twice before our final dissolution and the CRAY was intended to finally resolve this issue . What do I do ?

Attorney Answers 2


CR 2A rule is short, and basically is designed to link agreements to the civil proceedings in court. The thought behind the rule is to make sure that negotiations between the parties to avoid trial don't compound the problem with additional disputes. In a nutshell, the CR 2A rule requires that for an agreement or settlement to have any sort of force in court, it must be in writing (there are other components, but that is the important one for this instance). So, once you make an agreement outside of court and everyone signs the settlement around, provided there isn't some sort of showing that would otherwise invalidate the signing (or disqualify the person signing), then the agreement is binding.

In short, the CR 2A agreement is binding and enforceable. Depending on the stage of your current legal action, your attorney would likely seek to bring a summary judgment motion in which he or she would seek to prove that there is no genuine dispute of (a) the existence of the agreement, or (b) the material terms.

Now, a dispute regarding a term isn't material simply because someone vehemently disagrees with it or changes her mind while relying on hindsight. If there is a genuine issue of fact regarding the terms of the contract, the opposing party is going to need to provide evidence which proves and establishes that contradicting or different interpretation.

I don't think your Ex is in a good position, frankly. There may also be some family law statutes that have a bearing on this as well, so I would recommend discussing this in more detail with a family law attorney. I'm sure that that individual will have seen something like this in the past, where a settlement was generated but a spouse had second thoughts or because you subjectively misunderstood a material term. When someone signs a contract they are acknowledging the terms, including the fact that they understand them.

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The CR2A agreement is normally intended to be permanent. I usually convert the CR2A into a formal court order and present it to the Judge for entry; the formal order usually add a lot of detail that is often missing in the CR2A. Consult with an attorney about this. You probably need to file and serve a Notice of Presentation of Orders based on the CR2A. At that hearing you and your ex can make your arguments about what the final orders should actually say. See my AVVO Legal Guides on presentation of orders for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful.”

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